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In a previous post, the guidance provided by IB about External Assessment was highlighted. Attention now shifts to Internal Assessment. This report provides valuable insights into how your IA will be graded.

The subject report noted that most reports were based on research from the cognitive approach to behaviour and that stronger reports only had two conditions which makes the analysis of results clearer.

The examiners stressed the importance of including ethical documentation in the appendices and for reports to include referencing.

Performance against each criterion:

Criterion I – Introduction

You need to provide a discussion of the theory. However, a detailed description of two or three studies, including the replicated study, is not required for top band marks. Reports only need to include a description of a relevant theory or model upon which the IA is based. You must link your own investigation back to the original theory or model.

The aim and its relevance must be included.

Examiners note that many candidates were able to state the IV and DV, but not formally operationalise these within a research and/or null hypothesis.

Criterion II – Exploration

The key to this section is to explain why you chose all aspects of the of your exploration (design, sampling technique, participants, controlled variables and materials).

Do not confuse laboratory experiment with the experimental design. You need to list your materials and justify your choice. IB advised that it is useful for you to include a procedure as you will need to evaluate this in the ‘Evaluation’ section.

Criterion III – Analysis

The examiners noted that the challenge here is to use accurate statistics based on the level of data.

You are advised to raw data and calculations in the appendices. This is essential for the examiner; otherwise, it cannot be determined if the calculations presented are accurate.

Only one measure of central tendency and one measure of dispersion should be included in the report. Candidates should base this choice on the level of data in the study. Likewise, the choice of inferential statistics should be based on the level of data and the design. For any statistics employed, it should be clear as to why this test was the most appropriate test. Inferential tests were also often wrongly calculated as two-tailed, when in fact the research hypothesis was directional.

Make sure statement of significance is clearly presented for the inferential tests and demonstrate understanding of what they show with regard to the hypotheses. The examiners noted that it was rare to see candidates interpret the statistical findings in relation to the data, which is a requirement in the top band criteria.

Criterion IV – Evaluation

The examiners noted that candidates frequently compared their results to the replicated study, even though this was not required, and failed to discuss the findings concerning the background theory or model (although this is required).

For the evaluation of the design, some candidates evaluated the use of the experimental method instead of the research design. Many candidates did not evaluate all three required aspects (design, procedure and sample) but instead focused only on one or two. At times, the evaluation presented was superficial and/or generic strengths and limitations of all experimental research were presented. Often, modifications were general and not linked to the investigation and/or were superficial, for example, including a larger sample size.

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